Just think about jogging in a straight line for one hour. You do nothing else but jog. No jumping, no sprinting, no dancing, and no lifting weights...just jogging. The exercise is rather easy, because you do nothing but go forward at a nice, steady pace. But now, try doing that for 30 to 60 minutes. After a while, you just get bored, and if you have no music playing, you just may get discouraged and stop.
Jogging is nothing for me, but I can't get past the mental fatigue of jogging. Any exercise that involves me doing the same thing over and over and over again is mentally exhausting. While I could physically perform the exercise, the mental fatigue would wear me out so that jogging would FEEL difficult.
Now, if you're a creature of habit where you THRIVE on routine and predictability, then this exercise would be perfect for you. But for others who like to mix it up every now and then, jogging could be a mentally painful experience. This is why many joggers listen to music: it keeps their minds off of the mundane task.
Here's the thing about mental fatigue: it would make the easiest task seem difficult. If you don't have any mental endurance, then you would get easily discouraged from doing the simplest of all tasks.
Some of you remembered having a writing assignment as punishment when you were kids. Remember when the teacher would make you write a phrase over and over again either on the chalkboard or on paper? Maybe you threw a spitball at someone, and the teacher caught you. As punishment, the teacher made you write "I will not throw spitballs at my classmate" after school on her 100-foot chalkboard! The actual activity in itself was simple. Yes, your hand and arms started to get tired, but all you had to do was write that phrase repeatedly. The difficult part of that activity was staying focused enough to do it! After writing the phrase down 5 times, your brain just got tired and knowing that you still have to do it 30 more times was mentally draining.
In life, most of the stuff that we do is actually easy in themselves. You most likely work at a job that is pretty much mindless: it doesn't take much effort to do a good job. But it's the fact that you have to do that task over and over for a full day that makes you mentally tired.
When I do my kids' hair, I would twist it back at night so that when I undo it, their hair could be beautiful and wavy. The actual task is stupid easy. But whenever I think about doing their hair, I just get mentally tired to the point where I would go for DAYS without doing their hair. As a result, their hair would get dried up, knotted up, and full of lent. Then when I finally do their hair, I'm battling knots that are so bad that I can't even run a finger through it!
Everything from brushing your teeth, to driving to the store, to cleaning the house, and even to exercising is easy to do. But since we have so little mental endurance, doing even the easy stuff becomes difficult to do.
Building muscle is actually easy to do. Just take a weight and lift it. Do that everyday and you will get muscles. When the weight becomes easy, lift heavier and you'll get bigger muscles. Sounds easy? Well, that's because it is! So if you're not doing it, it's because you don't have the mental endurance for it.
The main fuel for achieving anything comes from your head. If you cannot mentally endure a task, then you won't complete a task. Even if you're just trying to tie your shoes, if you're not mentally ready for that task, you won't do it.
Kids give the best examples for mental endurance (or lack of it). Ask them to do a simple job such as emptying the dishwasher or making up their beds. Simple, right? Nothing mentally complicated about those tasks. Why is it that 2 hours later, they still haven't completed those tasks? Because they can't focus on those tasks! Lack of mental endurance means lack of focus. Then, of course, you yell at them about how you had to milk the cows, feed the pigs, and shave the sheep from 4 am to 9 pm everyday and all you ask them to do was to just make up their beds.
A lack of mental endurance is serious, because it could keep you from being your best! And believe me, it doesn't take much to be your best. The simplest activities could make significant improvements to your character, but we can't do those simple things because we get mentally tired too easily.
See, we have no problems doing the easy stuff like play video games, chat on Facebook, or watch television. Those are things we enjoy doing. Now, doing stuff that is actually important is just mentally draining. We could only do so much at a time before we hit a mental crash.
Having mental endurance is a discipline. It doesn't come naturally to anybody, so you need to train yourself to have it. Do you know that back in ancient times, before writing was a common practice, people had to memorize EVERYTHING, even word-from-word. When you had to retell a historical event, you had to memorize every detail of that story so you could accurately pass it down from generation to generation. Today, we are so lazy with memorizing anything that we barely try to memorize: we just write everything down. Trying to memorize something is mentally exhausting, even though the activity is very simple.
Better mental endurance means better accomplishments. You could get more things done when you could increase your mental endurance. The next time you're doing something that's easy and you start getting restless, force yourself to stay on task. Don't quit doing what you're doing until the job is completed. Don't stop because you can't mentally bare the task anymore. Anything worth achieving is going to mentally wear you down. If you could get past the mental drain, you would be successful in more areas of your life.